In The News

Chadwick Likely to Run Songdo School

The Korea Times
Kang Shin-who
  Attached File

An L.A.-based American school has applied to become the operator of the Songdo International School (SIS) in the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), 40 kilometers west of Seoul.

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Wednesday, the New Songdo International City Development (NSIC) accepted a letter of intent from Chadwick School in the U.S. making it the new candidate for the position, last November and the American school submitted documents regarding its desire to become new school operator to the ministry.

Founded in 1935, Chadwick is a private school with about 800 students in kindergarten through Grade 12 and has produced over 3,000 graduates.

"Chadwick operates high school programs and it is among the top 10 schools in California. So we believe this time it will have no problem in gaining approval from the ministry," said Cho Won-jong, an official from the Incheon Metropolitan City Government.

Vancouver International Primary and Secondary School (VIPS) had been selected as the candidate but the ministry rejected its candidacy for "unsatisfactory records," which were found in the screening process.

The official added that approval will have to be given by the middle of February in order to open SIS in March.

According to its Web site, Chadwick has 109 faculty members on its L.A. campus, with an eight-to-one student-to-teacher ratio."We are currently looking into the new applicant. Usually it takes about 10 weeks for the school assessment process, but this time it will not take that long," said Ku Hyuck-chae, a director at the ministry. A total of 10 criteria will be applied, including financial status, curricula and quality of teachers.

SIS was originally scheduled to open last year with a K-12 program for 2,100 students and its previous candidate, VIPS, planned to recruit a total of 280 students, with 40 in each grade from kindergarten through Grade 6, last fall semester.

However, it failed to get a license due to the fact that it had no experience in running high school programs.

Right after the disapproval, NSIC gave up its high school program and applied again but VIPS was rejected again.

Some 150 billion won has been spent in constructing the school, which includes a sports complex, a digital library and other facilities.

If Chadwick gets approved, Korea's first-ever foreign institute will open this year, accommodating Korean national students as well as children of foreign residents, as stipulated in the Special Law for the IFEZ.

Other foreign schools may admit Korean students who have lived overseas for more than three years, as long as their enrollment does not exceed 50 percent of the total.